How many players will be here next season? Where did Paul Dowing's return come from? - your Portsmouth questions answered

You’ve been sending your questions in after Pompey’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Accrington on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 1:35 pm

Subjects we tackle include how many players might be at the club next season, Paul Downing’s return and if the Blues can still be promoted...

Marquis scored the OG but he can't be blamed. What on earth happened in the build-up - unacceptable!

Martin Crane

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I know John Marquis has some detractors but surely even they can't find him culpable on this occasion.

There was no wonder why Danny Cowley was both livid and crestfallen when conducting his post-match interviews.

Cowley couldn't quite fathom the lead up of events to the own goal.

Firstly, Andy Cannon charged into a needless foul that handed Accrington a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Pompey players dejected after conceding a late equaliser against Accrington. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Then Rasmus Nicolaisen's beaten in the air for the first header before Craig MacGillivray looked like he could have caught the shot he thwarted – or pushed it wider – rather than into the area where Marquis stood.

I know every club has coulda, woulda, shoulda moments throughout the season. But if Pompey win their remaining two games and still fail to reach the play-offs then this will be one of the first to spring to mind.

Another performance that wasn't good enough except a couple of spells. How many are these players going to be here next season?

Dave Caldwell, Fratton

I have to agree, Dave, that last night wasn't good enough for the most part and Accrington boss John Coleman got his assessment spot on, in my eyes.

It's crazy to think there are two games left and everything to play for yet a lot of people are already focused on the summer transfer window.

A lot's been made about just how many players are out of contract at the season's end.

Now you start to wonder perhaps it's not a bad thing. The Cowleys can start afresh and recruit players ideal to their footballing philosophy.

Duncan Turnbull's departure is already confirmed, you'd also expect Charlie Daniels and Jordy Hiwula to likely exit, while Bryn Morris might not want to return even though Danny Cowley's not ruled out him having a future on the south coast.

Fair to say we can expect a busy summer regardless of the division Pompey find themselves in.

Where on earth did Paul Downing's return come from? I forgot he even played for us!

Andy Sutton

Steady on, do you not read our match reports from reserve games?!

In all seriousness, it has been an unbelievably tough time for Downing since arriving almost two years ago now. His substitute cameo at Accrington was his first league outing since Burton in September 2019, so 18 months ago, and watched the likes of Oli Hawkins used ahead of him.

Credit to Downing for maintaining his professionalism throughout his spell in the cold. He's never moaned nor upset the apple cart, which is a reason why he has stayed as back-up for so long despite having some interest in the past two January windows.

Danny Cowley was complimentary of Downing at the final whistle and how he thinks he's received overcomplicated instructions at PO4.

Given how his Pompey career has gone so far, the ex-Blackburn man could hardly be blamed if he does want a new start elsewhere this summer.

However, he is under contract for another year and it has made things that bit more interesting.

Does Jack Whatmough walk back into this team when back from suspension?

D Merton

If a play-off place remains up for grabs when Pompey welcome Accrington to Fratton Park on the final day, he has to.

Yes, Whatmough's been daft to get himself sent off twice through similar tackles but he's the best centre-half at the club by a significant margin.

The overriding feeling is that he's a Championship-standard defender and it'd be folly not to play a Championship-standard defender in a potentially season-defining game.

At Stanley, Pompey were brittle at the back and conceded two really poor goals. Sean Raggett's rash tackle led to the home side's second goal while Rasmus Nicolaisen also struggled.

With Lee Brown also absent, the Blues are missing a calming presence and someone to lead by example. Whatmough provides that.

Should we be prepared to be going back to Accrington next season?

Dale Wyatt

It is starting to look that way, unfortunately. Luckily, a 96th-minute Crewe goal meant Charlton also drew but a play-off finish remains out of Pompey's hands.

It's not ruled out, of course. The Addicks might have a game in hand but that's against Lincoln, while they've got Hull, going, for the title on the last day - along with Accrington this Saturday.

Let's take a positive out of the situation. At least Pompey still have something very much to play for.

Towards the end of Kenny Jackett's reign, there were genuine fears the Blues would fizzle out of the top-six picture.

Look what's happened at Ipswich since they changed manager. They've been out of the race for the past few weeks.

The one thing you worry about with Pompey is injuries are mounting up, with Danny Cowley using Harry Redknapp's famous adage 'bare bones' after Accy.

Ryan Williams had to start on the bench because he's running low on energy, Andy Cannon's back issue means he can't operate with his high-octane style and now Tom Naylor's playing with a hamstring issue.

Even if the Blues make the play-offs, the worry will be how fit the players will be for the additional games.